Intel I875P "Canterwood" - IntroductionIntroductionThe Pentium 4 platform is one of the most evolving platforms in CPU history. Originally designed on a 423 pin interface and RDRAM memory, it has now moved well into DDR country on an mPGA 478 pin interface. Intel last launched a new processor and Chipset platform in 2000. Intel since the introduction has seen many chipsets for the Pentium 4, and 90% of them are coming from Intel'ts own labs, only a small percentage has been from the third party chipset manufacturers.Originally designed with the I850 Dual Channel RDRAM chipset, the Pentium 4 became something of a high priced snail of the CPU market. PC133 SDRAM and DDR SDRAM proving they can hold RDRAM off should have led Intel down the DDR track much earlier. However, licensing agreements with Rambus prevented Intel from supporting DDR SDRAM before 2001. I845 chipset was released in order to reduce Pentium 4 platform costs. Designed to use PC133 SDRAM, it led Intel into a very large memory bottleneck. As soon as the agreements between Intel and Rambus had expired Intel moved straight into DDR SDRAM with the I845D chipset, this was the third Intel chipset for the Pentium 4 - 533Mhz FSB brought Intel to release its forth chipset - the I845E and I845G. Intel was largely criticised for its lack of DDR-333 memory support for the I845E and G series made Intel review its chipset designs, the fifth chipset series came in the form of the I845PE and I845GE. Identical to the E and G with DDR-333 support. Again Intel was criticised for its lack of AGP 8x transfers.While not originally intended for the desktop sector, but more towards entry level servers and workstations, the Granite Bay or E7205 chipset was Intel'ts first leap forward for the Pentium 4. Designed as the first Dual Channel DDR SDRAM platform for the Pentium 4 CPU with AGP 8x support, it was a large hit due to its increased memory bandwidth. Now Intel moved this a few steps forward with the Canterwood I875P chipset which we present to you a few days later after the NDA expired due to server issues we were experiencing.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Details on the New Pentium 4 KingPentium 4'ts new mascotThe new 875P chipset with Dual DDR400 will replace the 850E in the performance/ professional segment. The price for the i875P chipset, including the ICH-R, is $53 USD. Motherboard manufacturers who want to save $3 can pay $50 USD for the Southbridge without RAID on the ICH5 Southbridge. In any case, Intel still wants to bring the Springdale-G chipset to the market this quarter. This chipset, with its slightly reduced set of features, should be less expensive. However, the Springdale will be equipped with 200 MHz FSB as well.The 875P chipset marks a few milestones for Intel; for starters, it depicts Intel as a company that does listen to the needs and requests of their customers - mainly in its support for DDR400 memory technology. Embracing DDR400 SDRAM is something we never thought we would see Intel do, especially considering their stance on the technology in the past, thus we were quite surprised when we heard of the possibility last year at Computex Taiwan.Enabling 800MHz FSB support on the 875P chipset itself was more of a validation task for Intel; in fact, the amount of work Intel had to do in order to enable the support was relatively minimal considering that many 845PE chipsets will work fine at the increased frequency. Intel will not be offering 845PE chipsets with official support for the 800MHz FSB, so approach such boards at your own riskOne drawback of the I875P chipset is its removal of the 400Mhz FSB. This means if you want to use an I875P you will need either a 533Mhz or 800Mhz FSB CPU. Springdale-G will however support 400/533/800Mhz FSB.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - 875P in DetailThe NorthbridgeThe 875P Northbridge supports AGP 8X and with this Intel is finally meeting the demands of graphics card manufacturers and the requests orf the enthusiasts. The chip is produced using 250 nanometre technologies. While having 1005 soldering balls on the underside of the chip, the size of the chip is no larger than that of the E7205.The smaller but chunkier model achieves a power dissipation of approx 11 watts with an FSB of 200 MHz. At least the Canterwood Northbridge has only passive cooling on the Intel Reference board. However, some motherboard manufacturers still prefer to use fan-cooled solutions. Gigabyte and ABIT have taken up the active cooling solution.Memory and PATThe memory controller on the I875P is a new generation controller. Using technology first introduced by nVidia nFroce chipsets, Intel uses a 128bit Dual Channel DDR memory controller. Supporting two channels for up to 4GB in four DIMM slots, Intel achieves a Dual Channel Architecture that is equivalent to that used by the nForce 2. One rather unexpected surprise on the I875P chipset is the inclusion of official DDR 400 support. Normally Intel has waited for JEDEC to support a standard before it adopts it; after all it took quite a while after JEDEC adopted DDR-333. DDR-400 memory alone in single channel supports a max theoretical bandwidth of 3.2GB/s, using Dual Channel you get 6.4GB/s, the same bandwidth speed that the 800Mhz FSB P4 is able to generate.Performance Acceleration TechnologyIntel uses a small trick in order to squeeze an extra drop out of the MCH. Through an improvement in the logic design, the manufacturer has succeeded in saving one cycle when the CPU requests to perform a memory access, and a further cycle with the DRAM Chip Select. However, this only works with the 875 and 200 MHz FSB. The Springdale does not have PAT. Generally, the selection process for the Canterwood and Springdale chipsets is made based on "Speed Binning," as it is already known in the fabrication process of CPUs. If the silicon does not meet the requirements of the Canterwood qualification, such as PAT, then it can only be put through the Springdale qualification test. The chip makes a trip to the garbage bin only when it fails both of the tests. CSA - The new BusGigabit Ethernet is slowly becoming the new standard for Ethernet. Most motherboard companies are now integrating Gigabit Ethernet controllers onto their motherboards. Gigabit Ethernet allows 1000 megabit along standard Cat5E Ethernet cable. This is a great increase in bandwidth but this comes at a price. Using the PCI interface increases a bottleneck on the PCI bus. With other devices like RAID and Sound systems the PCI bus can'tt handle the increased load of gigabit Ethernet. Intel'ts latest approach is to incorporate a new bus directly into the Northbridge. The Communications System Architecture or CSA is a second hublink architecture running at 266MB/s, similar to the PCI64 bandwidth. This allows for a direct connection to the Northbridge.ICHThe Intel I/O Controller Hub version 5 is the newest controller chip designed to work with the I875P and I865 chipsets. There are two major features of ICH5 that separate it from its predecessor, ICH4; the first feature is integrated support for a total of 8 USB 2.0 ports. Intel claims that this is the last time they will be upping the number of USB ports supported as 8 seems to meet current and future demand. The next, and by far the most important feature is the Native support for Serial ATA. Up till now, if you wanted Serial ATA you needed to have a Promise, Highpoint or Silicon Image Serial ATA controller chip. Intel is the first of the Chipset manufacturers to have a Serial ATA controller built into its Southbridge. VIA has announced the VT8237 Southbridge, however, this chip has not made a show on the market. If you look at the Serial ATA specification, you'tll notice that the maximum transfer rate is listed as 150MB/s, that is 13% more bandwidth than a 32-bit/33MHz PCI bus can provide! Whether or not drives are currently reaching even half of that maximum transfer rate isn'tt an issue, regardless of what the case is, you never want to create additional bottlenecks; by placing the Serial ATA controller off of the PCI bus, a bottleneck is created that would only be exposed down the road.Intel'ts ICH5 gets around this problem by bringing the Serial ATA controller onto the ICH and bypassing the PCI bus all together. The Serial ATA controller has a direct link to the Hub Link 2.0 interface in ICH5 and thus can offer a full 150MB/s per channel. ICH5 features two Serial ATA channels (supporting a maximum of two drives) and two Parallel ATA channels (supporting a maximum of four drives), all of which may be enabled and used concurrently. Intel also gives another reason to say goodbye to third party SATA controllers with the inclusion of RAID function in the ICH5R version. This allows you to use RAID 0 or 1 on the Serial ATA drives connected to the ICH5R.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Intel Desktop MotherboardIntel Desktop MotherboardIt wouldn'tt be a review without some pictures, here we have assembled pictures of the Intel Desktop Motherboard powered by the I875P chipset.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Test Setup and Sandra 2003BenchmarksTest SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB DDR-400 Kingmax (Supplied by Kingmax Australia)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD80 7200RPM (Supplied by Techbuy)Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (Supplied by ATI)Software Used: SiSoft Sandra 2003, Lame MP3, Sysmark 2002, 3DMark2001SE, PCMark2002, Vulpine GLMark 1.1, Quake 3 Arena, Star Trek Voyager, Jedi Knight II, Max Payne, Aquanox and UT 2003SiSoft Sandra 2003SiSoft Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2001 is a synthetic windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - System Productivity and MultimediaReal World System ProductivitySysmark 2002Sysmark2002 incorporates the following Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity applications:Office Productivity: Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Microsoft Access 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred v.5, WinZip 8.0, and McAfee Virus Scan 5.13.Internet Content Creation: Adobe Photoshop 6.01, Adobe Premiere 6.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.1, Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Macromedia Flash 5.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Synthetic PC and 3DSynthetic PC and 3D3DMark033DMark03 is the latest instalment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - OpenGLReal World OpenGLQuake 3 ArenaQuake 3 Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a range of different products.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Direct3DReal World Direct3DComanche 4 DemoComanche 4 is a helicopter flying game using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D sub systems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up on this baby.
Intel I875P "Canterwood" - ConclusionConclusionWith the intentions of Intel to use the i875P to replace the 850/850E, Intel has put a lot of work into the i875P, and this work has shown up in a number of places. These include its new feature set, impressive support for current and future systems and its overall power and performance.Intel'ts past Pentium 4 chipset upgrades have been very mediocre, simply a FSB change in one and a memory support upgrade to another. The i875P adds everything computer users have been looking for.The inclusion of Dual Channel DDR for one is one of the biggest features that has been requested for Intel Pentium 4, many were leaning towards nVidia to provide this. Another is the use of DDR-400 memory, which isn'tt officially a JEDEC standard, Intel has moved ahead, working with JEDEC to validate the memory, and use it before it'ts officially out. Additions of super memory tweaks like PAT also adds to the sweetness of the overall chipset. The increase of the FSB to 800MHz in the i875P is also welcomed, rather than having to release a new chipset a couple of months down the track as a stop gap before its next product upgrades.The addition of the new ICH5 and ICH5R has shown that Intel is moving towards a goal that the enthusiast level and high end desktop and server market have been waiting for quite some time - fast and reliable storage without added controller systems.In all Intel has made the best chipset for the Intel Pentium 4 since the introduction of DDR SDRAM. Intel has put together the best technologies with one of the most proven processors and done it right for the first time.- ProsFastUltra StableDual Channel Memory400MHz DDR SupportNative Serial ATARAID with ICH5- ConsSlightly more expensive than the upcoming Springdale-G chipsetRating - 10 / 10 and TweakTown'ts Editors Choice Award
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